You say utility, I say...

Scott Page's picture
In Adam's spirit of "tweaking" fellow bloggers, (Hi All) I'd like to emphasize Adam's last point - "Is it still a utility if no one utilizes it?"

For all of the talk about municipal wireless, particularly in my hometown of Philadelphia, I've always been concerned about the ultimate use of the investment despite the fact I agree that anti-municipal broadband laws are detrimental to the flexibility of any City to serve their population. I'm reminded of an interview posted on Muniwireless with Dianah Neff where she discussed the business plan for Philadelphia's wireless network. This is the only place I have found any mention of how this network could be better used with strategic assistance to local communities:

"The non-profit will use the revenues to help the city meet its social goals: with the free cash flow, they plan to give 10,000 computers and 8-10 hours of training to low-income individuals, increase the number of families that have access to broadband and partner with other non-profits in neighborhoods. They hope to create 6000 new jobs in low-income neighborhoods."

Sounds good but in a City of just shy of a million and a half residents of which about 1 out of every 5 live below the poverty level, I would have hoped this aspect of tackling the technology needs of a diverse City would play a more prominent role.
Scott Page is the founder of Interface Studio, a collaborative design office based in Philadelphia.

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